Integrated Geo-Spatial Information Systems

Integrated Geo-Spatial Information Systems


Kapil Chhabrai
RMSI – India
Tel: (91)-118-4511102, Fax: (91)-118-4511109

The recent technological advancements and thus the integration of GIS, GPS, IT, and ERP, has made a significant impact on the information dissemination mechanisms, by means of mapping the information resources onto the real world visualizations, culminating into the development of “Integrated Geo-Spatial Information Systems” (IGIS). The powerful impact of pictorial representations, i.e. overlaying the geographical features onto the conventional databases, as well as analytical flexibility, with real world locational data, would make IGIS a compulsive necessity for the business organizations.

The increasing power of the desktop computers, the advancements in communications sphere and the convergence of GIS, IT, ERP and GPS onto a single platform, provides newer opportunities, for the conceptualization of “Integrated Geo-Spatial Information Systems” (IGIS). The consequent development of newer applications for customer services, financial and strategic planning, human resource planning, business operations, asset accounting, outage / network management, and the impact on information dissemination mechanisms, makes it imperative for all competitive enterprises, having distributed resources / client bases, to acquire IGIS to remain effective business organizations.

India based RMSI has developed an IGIS, for the specialized needs of a major utility in the business of natural gas distribution, integrating the geographical information, spatial and aspatial databases, engineering information, environmental aspects, socio-economic data, thus bringing the cumulative information resources to each desktop across the organization.

IGIS – Integrated Geo-Spatial Information System

Project Initiation:
The project initiation included a pilot study, and a thorough ‘User Needs Assessment’ (UNA), with structured analytical modeling, for the information flow mechanisms, based on the association matrices and context relationships.

The pilot study directed towards a phased development approach- enabling quantification of consequent benefits, at respective interim stages, as well as dynamic updating in strategic implementation of the subsequent steps.

The UNA culminated into defining the project specifications – including concept diagrams, information flow charts, database structural designs, the user’s interactive interfaces and the query / reporting formats.

Project Development:
The project inputs included paper source maps for the area of interest, the pipeline layout drawings, cadastral maps, various engineering drawings with structural details, GPS based survey reports, and other data like ownership / usage details and compensation requisites etc.

The system provided the digital mapping of the entire pipeline structure, with every point, along the route, being uniquely identifiable in ‘chainage units’ (distance in linear units from a defined origin). The system also provided various analytical tools and dynamic calculation (from the combined data resources), of the respective attributes, for a selected point (location) or segment.

The application utilities developed, included:

A typical IGIS display

  • Automated and Semi-automated Data Conversion tools: Various Applications, with user-friendly graphical interfaces, were developed for assisting the data capturing and attribution of the spatial features and their cross-linking with relational databases, and for translation of multiple inputs on to a common platform.
  • Interactive Query Builders and Report Generations: ‘Database Management Systems’, developed for the purpose, included support for sequential queries, to assist routings, site selections for sub-station/ monitoring locations, etc., and assisted report generations into defined formats (as a MIS support tool).
  • Intelligent and Dynamic Status Monitoring: Applications for integrating selective real time data inputs on to a central resource base, and updating to assist analytical queries / report generations, were developed for the purpose.
  • Visual Display Controllers: A user-friendly graphical interface, assisting the customization of the display windows, for combined viewing of multiple features along with a set of attributes / queries reports as related to a selected feature/s.
  • Print Controllers: A user-friendly graphical interface, assisting custom formatting of graphical features and the data reports, for printing purposes, as along side windows or as overlays (as per required).

Further Directions:
Further developments are being planned for “Wide Area Network” implementation, thorough Internet, and interfacing with temporal data and dynamic mapping for the purpose of state-of-the-art remote station (control and monitoring) functionality. Reference: Kapil Chhabra and Meenu Pall Walia, “Geo-Spatial Information Systems and Utilities – An Indian Case Study”, Geo Asia Pacific, April/May 2000, pp. 20~22.